Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Comet Lulin from Battery Park, NYC

Session name: 20090224.2130

This was my second observation of Comet Lulin using the Tak 22x60 binoculars. An easy starhop from Saturn to xi Leonis (Leo) 5° northwest and finalky landing on 59 Leo** abour a degree and a half west..
A very pale patch light could be seen by the experienced observers about one quarter to a third of a degree northeast of 59 Leo. The comet appeared to be at least 10', maybe as large as 15' in size. I felt something central register on my eye, occurring multiple times I suspected it may have been a steliar nucleus.
Unfortunately many of the others were unable to see Lulin and no wonder. Our observing party was setup directly beneath streetlamps where a blustery cold wind came off the Hudson River. Scope shake and eyepiece glare frustrated many attempts. The low surface brightness was no help. As consolation they were provided a magnificent view of Saturn and 3 moons in John's 6" scope.
After the comet a few diehards, Rich R. and John S., remained to take in some of the brighter open clusters in the immense space above our heads and over New Jersey.

** 59 Leo may ring a bell, it was occulted by the Moon during the 3-4 March 2007 lunar eclipse.

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